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VOLUME 17, NUMBER 1, JUNE 2014

STOCKTONIA
A Journal of Comparative Environmental Studies
Study of Macro Invertebrates in Relation to the Health of Streams
Kevin Hesson, Chris Georgieff, Shawn Harrington, Briana Nagengast,
Bio-assessment of stream quality will be conducted through the observation of the presence
and abundance of macro invertebrates in streams close to campus. The study wishes to identify
what streams may be polluted and to what degree they have been already degraded. In
comparison with previous studies, the group will look at the possible causes of degradation, and
compare populations of invertebrates.

Introduction
The question[jc1]
What is the current status of the streams at Moss Mill, Cedick Run, and Clarks Mill? Are they
healthy? Are they degrading? If so, to what degree?

Previous studies
Previous studies have looked at the streams previously listed. Providing another look at the
sites studies in previous years will allow us to compare the health of the streams to what
previous studies found which will provide a context for the health of the streams and where it
seems to be headed. In the years 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
the studies that were conducted included at least one of the sites that we are looking to study.
Previous studies have looked at the presence of macro invertebrates as an indication of stream
health (Giberson et al 2013). Others have examined the effectiveness of using macro
invertebrates as an indication of stream health (Bloood et al 2012). Still other studies have
examined the effectiveness of sampling methods such as plate sampling, in collecting accurate
samples of macro invertebrate populations (Hemmerlin et al 2011). We will be taking into
account previous years findings when assessing the health of the streams.

Hypothesis
The stream health of the site at Clarks Mill will be in decent condition as indicated by last years
study (Giberson et al 2013). The site at Moss Mill will be slightly more degraded in comparison
to Clarks Mill as indicated by last year's study (Giberson et al 2013).

Experimental design
The study will be conducted at the Clarks Mill, Upper Moss Mills at Zurich, Lower Moss Mill and
Cedick Run sites using plate sampling. During the project, we will be making use of the
Volunteer Pinelands Macroinvertebrate Index (PMI) to determine stream quality (Jessup et al
2005). We will analyze the abundance and variety of macro invertebrates found to determine
the quality of the streams. We will also examine the pH of the stream water. This will allow us to
determine if the streams are higher than the average for the Pine Barrens. We will then try to
determine why they are higher than 5.5pH (Jessup et al 2005) since lower than 5.5pH is to be
expected.

Study Areas
We will be conducting our research at Clarks Mill at Liebig St., GPS coordinates of N39.51316,
W74.5526, Cedick Run located behind N-Wing, and the Lower Moss Mill stream below the ditch
from Lake Fred as well
as at Upper Moss Mill
at Zurich Ave.
Coordinates were
obtained from the study
conducted in 2010
(Weinberger et al
2010). Images of the
sites are below in order
of Lower Moss Mill,
Upper Moss Mill at
Zurich Ave, Clarks Mill,
and Cedick Run.

Methods
Data collection methods
In collecting data, we used plate sampling, multi habitat sampling, and ph measurements. Plate
sampling was conducted by placing 2 plate samplers at each site. Samplers were made of
wooden sections separated by metal washers on a large metal screw. Samplers were left at the
sites for at least a week before retrieval in order to maximize macroinvertebrate colonization.
Multi Habitat sampling was done by wading into the stream with a net and bucket and collecting
samples from the bottom of the stream with the net. Another method was to disturb any organic
debris through kicking, in order to shake loose any macroinvertebrates that might be living
there. Samples were placed in the buckets and taken back to the lab for analysis. The collected
debris was sifted through and macroinvertebrates were separated and placed into a jar
containing 80% ethanol.
Ph was measured by taking a plastic bottle and rinsing it in the stream, and then proceeding to
collect a sufficient sample to take back to the lab for analysis. The Ph was measured by using a
pH meter with probe. The water sample in the plastic bottle was taken and the pH meters probe
was placed in the bottle. The meters reading was then recorded and the process was repeated
for each sample. This was done 2 times for each sample to ensure that the readings were not
inaccurate.

Data analysis methods


Samples from plate sampling were analysed by taking apart the samplers and removing any
collected debris that may have accumulated during the time in which the samplers were in the
streams. The samples were placed into plastic bins and sorted by hand with a pair of tweezers
or a plastic spoon. We sorted the invertebrates from the debris until we could find no more
invertebrates. The organisms were then separated from the bin and placed into a smaller, metal
pan. Once all the invertebrates were in the pan, we transferred them into a jar filled with 80%
ethanol for later counting. The organisms were moved into a counting tray and once again

suspended in 80% ethanol. The suspended insects were then examined under a
Stereomicroscope. The use of a Stereomicroscope enabled the accurate identification of the
different species of macroinvertebrates using the Stream Insects and Crustaceans
macroinvertebrate key from the Izaak Walton League. During the counting process, we
categorized the organisms in the sample and used the Pinelands Macroinvertebrate Index to
assess the health of the streams.

Results

[jc2] The

following categories in the graphs were determined using the guidelines

from the PMI scale for macroinvertebrates.

Discussion and Conclusions


In just looking at the sites, there were indications of potential degradation. At Clarks Mill there
was evidence of human impact in the presence of trash such as dilapidated chairs, submerged
duffle bags within the stream among other, smaller pieces of trash. At the site on Zurich Ave. the
location is of concern. The site itself is located near a Superfund Site. Upon further investigation
we found that the site was a former septic dump. A sign was placed upon the fenced area that
stated that the surrounding soil was contaminated and that contact should be avoided. The
nearby septic dump may have affected the stream at Upper Moss Mill on Zurich Ave. There is a
direct connection between waste disposal and pollution and the health of the environment
(Hamer 2003), so it is not unlikely that the dump has had at least some effect.
Plate sampling seems to result in similar results. For all 4 sites, plate sampling yielded highly
pollution tolerant results. In comparison with the multi habitat sampling, the plate samplers seem
to either be more accurate, or too attractive to pollution tolerant organisms that I has skewed the
data. In the plate sample results for Cedick Run and Clarks Mill, pollution intolerant
invertebrates were not found. In the Cedick Run plate samplers we found more 55 black fly
larvae. In the Clarks Mill sample there were so many black fly larvae that it was inefficient to

count every last one. For the sake of the study we listed the black fly larvae at 100+ and use
100 for conducting mathematical analysis. This was done to save time as well as create graphs
that would still depict visible percentages for the pollution sensitive and intolerant species.
The disparity between plate sampling and multihabitat sampling can possibly be attributed to
weather conditions. During the time in which plate samplers were on site, there was repeated
heavy rains and even some snow. This affected the water levels and stream speed. It is
possible that many of the invertebrates that the plates collected were washed away by an
unusually strong current. Whatever the reason, the plate samplers did not pick up many
pollution sensitive organisms at all. In light of this, it may be more reasonable to go by the
results from the mutihabitat sampling, or a combination of the results from mutlihabitat sampling
and plate sampling.
Our goal was to use the PMI scale for determining stream health at our four sites. The
guidelines for the PMI scale suggest that sample sizes should range between 100 and 120
organisms. While our study did yield numbers in that range for certain sites including the Cedick
Run Plate Sample, Upper Moss Mill Plate Sample, and Lower Moss Mill Multihabitat Sample,
the other samples did not contain the minimum of 100 organisms. This may attributed to (as
mentioned before) the difficulties faced during the sorting process. It is impossible to be sure
that one has collected all organisms in a sample as the muddy nature of the work tends to
distort what is alive and what is not. Therefore, it is likely that organisms were missed during the
sorting process and that this had an effect on the results that we calculated for each site that
was under the minimum requirement of 100 organisms.
Are they healthy? Are they degrading? If so, to what degree?
The Moss Mill stream differs very little from the study done in 2013 to our own study. Last year,
they conducted Plate Sampling at Moss Mill and received samples which were largely pollution
tolerant heavy (Giberson 2013). Since our Plate Samplers gave similar results it is safe to say
that the stream at Lower Moss Mill has not changed much over the course of the past year.

Questions for further Study


How long is an effective period of time to leave the Plate Samplers on site? To what degree did
the changing weather affect the results we collected for the Plate Samplers (for example
flooding and snow)? Would conducting this study during a different time of year give us better,
more comprehensive results? How will the streams change over the course of the next few
years? To what extent has the recent development of Stocktons campus affected the health of
the surrounding stream ecosystems?

Acknowledgements
Literature Cited

[c3]

[jc4]

Bloood B. et al. 2012. Aquatic Macroinvertebrates and Determining Stream Health.


Stocktonia 15: 30-39.
Hamer Geoffrey. Solid waste treatment and disposal: effects on public health and
environmental safety. Biotechnology Advances 22: 71-79.
Hemmerlin D. et al. 2011. Stream Stick Sampling: A Study of Macroinvertebrates and
Their Aquatic Homes. Stocktonia 14: 24-32
Giberson K. et al. 2013. Macroinvertebrates and Bioassessment: The Use of Biological
Indicators to Assess Stream Health. Stocktonia 16: 3-11.
Jessup B. et al. 2005. Development of the New Jersey Pinelands Macroinvertebrate
Index
(PMI). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 82.
Weinberger K. et al. 2010. Aquatic Macroinvertebrates. Stocktonia 13: 10-19.

[jc1]Type

each section below the headers provided


[jc2]Paste special your tables and graphs here, with full explanations.
[c3]Spell out exactly what each group member contributed to the project. Also, acknowledge any
other people who helped, not including Jamie.
[jc4]Include

all sources used, and properly cited in the report, correctly listed here.
http://www.stockton.edu/~cromartw/citing.htm